My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture, and things in the broader realm of the Gothic and darkly Romantic. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

Goth is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, the expression of that in Goth rock. It looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, et al) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. The Gothic should not be limited by what is already within it; inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Monday, 20 January 2014

Short Hair

In early to mid December, I had my hair cut the shortest it has ever been. At the front there is enough length to frame my face, but at the back there's less than 2 inches of the stuff (and that's now, with about a month's re-growth) and dyed it my favourite colour - a bluish violet.

This is quite a drastic change, considering I had long hair down to my bust before (not the longest it has been - it was once down to my waist) and that the previous shortest hair-cut was ::this one::. There are many reasons for the drastic cut. On a practical level,  there were several good reasons. I work with small children (mostly 4-6yr olds), and some of them are inclined to tug my hair to get my attention, or end up flicking or splattering stuff into it when doing messy activities, and so it seemed more practical to have short hair. I also wear wigs quite often, and it is easier to tuck shorter hair under a wig than longer hair. Long hair takes longer to dry, uses more dye and is harder to keep tidy and look after, etc. 

Another reason was because I felt the shorter hair-style would make me look and feel a bit more mature. I've had long hair since I was a little girl, with a few attempts to stick to a shorter style, but generally, it has been long, and I felt that this was a look that would move drastically away from that and have me looking more sophisticated. I've moved on a long way in life in the last few years, both in distance and in knowing what I want to do in life. Now, I feel like I have regained direction as well as made progress. 

I've had so many conflicting ideas of what to do as a career, all I have known is that going back to studying is something I have to do, and it has been hard picking which of my varied interests and passions coincide best with my skills and would be best developed into something I could see myself working in for a long time. As a teen, I was dead set on architecture, but for varying reasons ended up thinking I would be happier as an artist/illustrator, and that's what I worked towards at college - in the end, though, I tried that and found that working in art killed my passion for what I was doing, and I wasn't enjoying it. For a while I thought about teaching, but I don't think I have the right attributes for that. Now, I feel like I was right to begin with. Sometimes you have to try something to know it isn't actually what you're meant to do. 

Cutting hair short seems to often be a rite of passage for other people, a symbol of cutting away parts of their old self with their hair. It has been the same for me. 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

January Alternative Mini-Meet

I organise little informal social gatherings of local alternative types of many varieties (I deliberately encourage members of diverse subcultures to attend the same gatherings because we have a mixture of shared experiences and differing perspectives that I think is valuable). Today a small group of us met at the Brae Café in Inverness for hot drinks, cake and chatter. 

Cl. on the left, K. on the right.
Photograph by the HouseCat. 
Originally I anticipated a few more Lolitas from the general area to be attending, hence my Gothic Lolita outfit, but sadly due to transport issues, that was not to be (one of the disadvantage of living in somewhere like the Highlands where there is a level of practical isolation - not everyone can easily get into the city, especially if they don't own a car). Part of the reason I try and organise the gatherings is because often people can't get into Inverness on the dates of larger events like club nights, especially as late night transport is limited to a taxi or a stay in a local hotel if one is drinking, as often the busses don't run at late hours and many folk live in places unconnected by rail. My meets tend to involve tea and coffee rather than beer and whiskey, so people can drive home safely and legally and not need to rely on public transport or taxis. Also, I can plan meets on dates that don't clash with people's schedules, and be quite flexible about arrangements. 

Gothic Lolita ruffles, and an awkward smile.
Photograph by K.

I decided this was the perfect occasion to wear both my new curly wig (well, second-hand, bought from the photographer behind ::Sheridan's Art:: - check out her awesome and often quite darkly inspired art photography) and the Baby, The Stars Shine Bright dress I bought secondhand from Closet Child. I tried to keep my Gothic Lolita outfit on the decidedly Goth side. Sarge was wearing my Hearts & Roses London brocade frock-coat, his own rather beautifully embroidered guayabera shirt, Raven's lace jabot, and my winged and chained (an interesting metaphor, perhaps?) collar pins. He's not normally that Gothic in appearance, and especially not that vampiric looking. He also borrowed one of Raven's canes. 

K is for kitty-cat! Nyan :3
Photograph by the HouseCat.
The meet began at 13:30, and we disbanded at 16:00 and got through a lot of chatter. It's only a social gathering, not an on-topic discussion group, so everything from my Japanese fashion magazines to historical amputation techniques (well, we are a bunch of morbidly curious Gothically inclined types...) to online gaming got discussed and time flew by with me being quite surprised by how quickly the time passed, and how dark it had become when we left the cafe. 

CL. One of those people who is part Goth, part Metalhead, and all awesome.
Photograph by the HouseCat.

Some of us had met each other in person before at other gatherings (my birthday picnic, various tea-parties, out clubbing, etc.) and some of us had never met in person before! K and I have known each other for a while, but she brought her friend C. - whom I had never met - with her. Cl. & and K. had met before at my birthday party, and Cl. and I meet often at Alternative X clubbing nights, and Sarge and I have been friends for a very long while, but this is the first time he has met the rest of the group. Despite us not really being hugely well-acquainted, we all gelled really well, probably partly due to it being quite a small number, and partly because we actually all have more in common than just alternative subcultures - for example it turns out that both Sarge and C. are avid players of 'League of Legends'. 

Sarge, in ruffles and brocade, courtesy of him staying at my place
and I wanting some unsuspecting metalhead to vamp up...
Photograph by me.

The Brae Café is a café-gallery that has a lot of interesting art on the walls and some interesting quirky and alternative jewellery for sale by Frost Raven Jewellery. I spotted the skulls, Cl. spotted some black lips with fangs, and thinking of K. I spotted a black coffin with pink swirls, which C. bought for her at the end. I'm seriously thinking of buying one of the skull pendants for myself. I unfortunately can't find a link to website, Etsy page or FaceBook page for Frost Raven Jewellery, but I am trying to track them down so I can interview and show-case them on this blog sometime, as their work is really quite funky. 

Altogether an interesting day was had, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. We wandered off into the town as a group before heading off to our respective destinations, and I met up with Suzy_Bugs (who came 'round to my apartment for dinner). It's Raven's birthday, our anniversary, and Valentine's day next month, so I doubt I will be having another gathering for a while yet, but another will occur, that is almost certain. 

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! 
Bonne Année! 
(In French because of the HouseCat's French connections and family) 
Athbhliain faoi mhaise dhaoibh!
(Irish Gaelic, in honour of Raven's family)
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!
(In Welsh, thanks to Raven who lived most of his life in Wales)
Bliadhna Mhath Ùr dhuibh uile!
(Scottish Gaelic  because I live in Scotland)

I celebrated the solar New Year 11 days ago -the Solstice - as I am Pagan. I hope the festive season has been good for all of you, with that covering everything between Thanksgiving and Imbolc! (More festivities to be had!) I hope you had a good time, whatever it is you celebrate, from Solstice to Christmas to Festivus to New Year. Also feel free to contribute what festive greetings are like in your native language if it isn't already here. Next Year might be a bit more diverse!

I'd like to hear about what my readers did - if you have blogged about it, link in the comments, or if not, feel free to tell me about it. 

Have a picture of me at my Dad's house, feeding my over-sized cat Kuro from the palm of my hand. I went to England for a week to visit my family and friends there, and went on a plane for the first time that I know of (I think I may have been on a plane as a baby, but I was too young to know what was going on) despite being terrified! I have conquered my fear of airports and aeroplanes! I had a quiet Christmas with my Dad, and a busy week visiting everyone I knew within in a 20 mile radius of my Dad's house, which is a LOT of people. I got mostly chocolate as festive gifts, so my New Year's resolution to eat more healthily is not starting well...